Arizona law passes constitutional muster

So say a panel of law professors at the University of California, San Diego:

“I don’t see this as giving police more authority,” said Lawrence A. Alexander, one of three University of San Diego law professors on the panel. “I don’t see it on the face of the statute.”

However, panelists said, if a police officer unlawfully arrests or detains an individual, this could amount to a constitutional violation.

There remain concerns about racial profiling, even with the revisions, said Lilia Velasquez, an immigration attorney and adjunct professor at California Western School of Law in San Diego who attended the discussion.

“We have to not just concentrate on how it is facially constitutional,” Velasquez said, addressing the panelists. “But how is it going to be applied in Arizona, considering the state of mind?”

And unlike a U.S. citizen or legal resident arrested unlawfully, who can be released, it would be difficult to halt the removal from the country of someone apprehended during an unlawful stop, Velasquez said.

“Police will abuse authority from time to time,” Alexander said. “That is a fact of life, and it is regrettable.”

The law, partly written by University of Missouri law professor Kris Kobach, is drawn to closely mirror federal immigration law — and there lies the rub. Because immigration law is adjudicated by the federal government, the Arizona law could be pre-empted because federal law overrides state law, said Maimon Schwarzchild, another USD law professor on the panel.

“What the state is doing here is saying, ‘We will enforce the law, until you tell us not to,’ ” Schwarzchild said.

Kobach said the fact that it mirrors federal law is a good defense against a pre-emption claim. The law could more easily be defeated if it conflicted with federal law, he said.

“There is no conflict when the two laws are mirror images of one another,” Kobach said in a phone interview. “That is an important factor that will play in the judicial defense of this law.”

In other words, if the Arizona law is one based on raaacism and if that means that Arizonans are all raaacists… then the Federal law is raaacist too and all Americans are raaacists.

A ludicrous and idiotic assertion.

And more Americans see it as such than those who don’t:

… you may well think public sentiment is dead against the good voters of Arizona.

But you would be wrong. Poll after poll has found most Americans think the Arizonans have a good idea. Not perfect, to be sure. But good. I’m not talking about a bunch of fly-by-night push polls. I’m talking about Gallup, New York Times/CBS, and Pew among others; heavy hitters with solid reputations. And they are finding that the majority of Americans don’t think there is anything wrong with police asking some questions if it seems like someone is here illegally.

As you might expect, the polls show Republican voters most in favor of this law. But Independents also support it, albeit by a narrower margin. And Democrats? A majority of them oppose the law, but one-out-of-three is okay with it.

Opponents of this measure don’t like hearing those numbers. They like numbers like this: 90 million. That’s how many dollars the mayor of Phoenix says boycotts could cost his metro area over the next five years in lost conventions and tourism.

Maybe so. But boycotts are notoriously unpredictable. Everyone who ever starts one predicts it will cause the fall of the Roman Empire, and that is rarely the case. Uh, except in Rome about 1500 years ago, and that was not so much a boycott as a general strike.

Those who are complaining about the Arizona law are passionate, and they may have some solid legal arguments, vis-à-vis, constitutionality. But make no mistake, they are in the minority. Americans in growing numbers are telling Washington, D.C. it is time for a serious debate and some hard decisions need to be made about our immigration policy. And far from damning Arizona for jumping the gun, they are applauding.

I join in the applause. 

Critics of the law must be reminded that it’s nothing more than a clone of the Federal statute and that it’s nothing more than Arizona doing what the Feds refuse to do.

I close with this summarizing video coming our way via, a site setup to counter those promoting boycotting the state:

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.

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